The Dustbowl Revival, Modern Whiskey Market, and Treehouse Sanctum at the Larimer Lounge in Denver, CO on 01/20/17

The Dustbowl Revival

Inauguration day reflected a divided nation, but that night a band brought the commonwealth together with a washboard and a lampshade. The Dustbowl Revival is an eight-piece band that combines bluegrass, Americana, and New Orleans Swing. Their infectious sound won over the sold out crowd immediately. Girls with long flowing scarfs took over the front of the stage dancing in a gypsy trance. Bluegrass fans sang along to all the standards. And others just smiled from the first note until the band marched off at the end the night.

Liz Beebe of The Dustbowl Revival

The Venice, California based band started when singer/guitarist Zach Lupetin placed a Craigslist ad bringing transplanted jazz and bluegrass musicians into a mash-up ensemble. A grueling tour schedule transformed them into a powerful musical force. The Dustbowl Revival gained a loyal following and was recently voted the best live band in Los Angeles, California by LA Weekly.

The band fired up the Larimer Lounge crowd with the New Orleans standard John the Revelator (you know he wrote the book of the seven seals). Liz Beebe put down her washboard and took the lead singing the rhythm and blues inspired Busted. Belting out, You think you got something/But you don’t got nothing/Honey, it you don’t got me. 

The Dust Bowl Revival

A lampshade slowly worked its way from the back of the room to the front of the stage as the band performed the ultimate party song Lampshade On (I saw the proud owner of that lampshade getting the band to sign it at the end of the night).

The Dustbowl Revival requested the crowd to join arms for So Far Away and join in the chorus, “So far way/ So far from home/I got these new friends/ And I ain’t drinking alone.”  

The band jumping off the stage (it wasn’t easy with a stand up bass) and played in the middle of the crowd.  They performed the bluegrass classic New River Train and marched off into the night with The Saints (because they go marching on).

Modern Whiskey Market

Modern Whiskey Market was the second band on the bill.  Their social media state, “they have been playing knee slapping music for the fine people in Colorado since 2012.” I speculate their love for bluegrass and facial hair brought them together. The band was short a man due to a medical issue (I assume it’s beard related). They sang original songs about drinking moonshine and tripping on mushrooms in the Rocky Mountains. Their Prince cover of When Doves Cry transformed the 1980’s classic into a fast paced bluegrass jam.

Treehouse Sanctum

Denver’s own Treehouse Sanctum was the opening band. Singer/guitarist Sam Rymer sporting a red bandanna (Bruce Springsteen Born in the USA era) and Singer/Keyboardist Danya Lynn Prado decked out in leather pants (Jim Morrison Lizard King Era) lead the band through a set of music they describe as indie dream rock. When they played Pilot & Crew about a World War II Veteran, an older gentleman blowing the trumpet appeared from the back of the stage.  The crowd might have wondered who brought their Dad. It turned out it was Dewayne Rymer (Sam’s father). They ended their set with Van Morrison’s Into the Mystic (making me ponder how one can rock a gypsy soul?)

See you at the next show. I will be the one with the washboard with my lampshade on.

Winehouse and Judge Roughneck at The Mercury Cafe in Denver, CO 0n 12/31/16

Winehouse – Counting down to the new year

The upstairs at The Mercury Cafe on New Year’s Eve is like being in a loft of an old barn in the middle of Denver with Christmas decorations and organic gluten free liquor.  Young partiers wearing masquerade masks mixed with couples with AARP memberships were ready for a New Year’s Eve celebration. It started behind schedule because the annual erotic poetry reading went long (thanks Viagra).

Singer Toddy Walters come on stage before her Amy Winehouse transformation to pay respect to all the artists lost in 2016.  She sang 100 Days, 100 Nights by Sharon Jones who passed away in November.  It seemed only fitting because Sharon Jones’ band The Dap Kings played on Amy Winehouse’s Grammy award winning Back to Black album.  At the end of her moving song, Walters introduced the opening band.

Judge Roughneck

Judge Roughneck has been playing with every ska and reggae band that has come through the Mile High City from UB40 to The Wailers since 1995. Singer Byron Shaw led the group through a fast paced set reminding everyone there is always time for a bongo solo.  David Dinsmore dressed in a suit and baseball cap (making the fashion statement work much better than the President Elect) provided additional vocals and trombone. Because you just can’t have enough horns, saxophone player Jon Hegel wearing his signature fez hat and Prince look alike/trumpet player Andre Mali completed the brass section. Their music made the audience dance from a hipster wearing a court jester hat made of fake eyeballs to an older couple in Mardi Gras masks.  One of the highlights was The English Beat’s Mirror in the Bathroom (Fishbone’s Angelo Moore sings on the band’s recent studio version on the song).

Winehouse – All Photos by the Rock and Roll Princess

Winehouse, recently voted as Westword’s top tribute band, took the stage. Toddy Walters embraced Amy Winehouse’s spirit with a beehive, tattoos, and English accent (some might be fake). The main members of the band are the horn section and singer from Judge Roughneck. The majority of the songs Just Friends, Love is a Losing Game, and of course Rehab paid a fitting tribute the late singer.  Not surprisingly, some of the songs were versions of the legendary ska band The Specials (all songs that Amy Winehouse covered).  Byron Shaw revved up the New Year’s Eve crowd by having them sing the chorus to The Specials’ Monkey Man, “Aye Aye Aye.”

Toddy Walters A.K.A. Winehouse

The band provided the perfect Motown feel for Amy Winehouse’s own He Can Only Hold Her with perfect backing vocals and matching choreography.

The encore was The Specials’ You’re Wondering Now with fitting lyrics to start the new year from a tribute band honoring an artist that left this life too soon.  “You’re wondering now/What to do/Now you know this is the end.”  Of course, it was sung in an upbeat ska way.

See you at the next show.  I will be the one waiting for the bongo solo.